Maybe its the caveman in us, but there’s something that just doesn’t look right about a man with a shaved armpit. But are we all missing out on something by letting our pit follicles flourish?
A generation ago it would have been unthinkable that men would be shaving their chests and sculpting their public hair but these days manscaping is as ordinary as a Johnny Depp film flopping at the box office.
Online polls estimate the rate of armpit shaving falls anywhere between 14% and 53% — and although those surveys are hardly scientific, it’s clear that many men are taking a razor to their pits.
The armpit is home to the sweat-producing apocrine glands, and the hair there is an evolutionary hangover from a time when men needed to trap those pheromones to attract a mate.
Although some women like the whiff of a tradie after a sweaty day on the tools, the scent most potential mates prefer in the 21st Century is something a little cleaner — and hygiene is one of the big reasons why blokes are keeping their armpits tidy.
Armpit hair isn’t detrimental to our health — evolution would’ve taken care of it by now if it was — but the smoother aesthetic of a trimmed pit, as opposed a bushy clump of hair, is another explanation, as is athletic performance for men who feel more comfortable exercising with a hairless armpit.
So if you feel confident shaving your pits, how do you go about it?
The process is much the same as shaving your face. Start off by trimming the strands if they’re too long, then jump in a hot shower to soften the hair and prepare it to be shaved, best done by a waterproof razor in the shower. Don’t forget to moisturise with a post-shave balm after you dry off.
If the thought of a naked armpit is just too emasculating to bear, then just trim the hair down to a centimetre or so in length — not so short that it feels prickly, but long enough that your mates won’t tease you.
For a razor-free and painless method of removing pit hair, you can also apply a depilatory cream to the armpit for five minutes then wipe it away — strands and all — with a wet towel. Or if you’re feeling up to the pain, wax can also take care of the hair. Ouch.